A Husband’s Perspective On Heart Valve Surgery Recovery
By Adam Pick on November 12, 2007
Every once in a while I receive an email that is either overwhelmingly touching or incredibly insightful. In those situations I ask my readers if I can publish their quotes / stories in my blog. Luckily, 99% of the time they say “yes”.
I have to admit…
These stories are the epicenter of why I wrote my book and why I continue to write this blog… I know this information will help somebody, somewhere, someday. Maybe it will help you right now?
Recently, I received a note from a reader (his name is Taylor) about his wife of 55 years (Phille). Phille just had significant heart surgery. Typically, the stories come to me directly from the patient. However, many stories come from their caregivers. Taylor is the husband and primary caregiver in this case.
TAYLOR’S EMAIL TO ME:
Sorry about being so long getting back to you, but you know how it is…
Phille had the surgery on Monday 10/15/07.
They replaced the mitral valve with a tissue valve (also known as a biological valve), replaced an existing stent with a bypass, and another procedure to help an irregular heartbeat she was having occasional problems with.
Everything went well.
Phille had some bleeding problems post-operation. I think the doctor took the tubes out prematurely and ended up draining the left lung while she was in the hospital. The doctor also did a biopsy on that lung.
We went home Wednesday, 10/24/07 [nine days later]. At home, Phille did so / so. She had home-nursing every few days. She was still having problems with fluid and she continued to cough.
During the follow-up visit with the cardiologist on Wednesday 10/31/07, the doctor didn’t like what he heard with the stethoscope and immediately ordered a cat scan and an echocardiogram which showed a lot of fluid in Phille’s heart chamber and left lung.
We went back in the hospital for a draining of the heart chamber (375 units from the left lung). After that, we went home on Friday. Was she sore? Yes. Biggest problem has been a nagging dry cough.
She is now walking 2 to 3 times a day for 5 minutes – around the house and on the treadmill in the bedroom. At 73 years of age, I think Phille is doing well with the exception of some post-operative cardiac depression.
I can’t thank you enough for your book which was an invaluable aid mentally for both of us. Thanks to you, we had an idea of what to expect. Sorry to be so long winded. God Bless and take care!
MY REACTION TO TAYLOR’S EMAIL?
For me, I can feel Taylor’s love for his wife in his words. I wish Phille an accelerated recovery.
As you can read, Taylor writes about several elements of the post-operative situation. Recovering from heart surgery can be very trying for patients and their caregivers.
I’ll never forget Robyn’s (my wife) care for me during my aortic and pulmonary valve replacements. We weren’t married… Or, even engaged at the time. But, her love for me was seriously angelic. Looking back on it, Robyn was dedicated to two things. First, my healing. Second, she was dedicated to us getting married. Both came true.
That said, thanks to all the caregivers who are reading this right now. Your help and support is truly, truly appreciated!!! A special thanks to Taylor for sharing his story about his wife, Phille.
Keep on tickin!
Jim says on November 16th, 2007 at 9:43 am
Thanks both Adam And Taylor. My situation is not exactly the same but not far off. My wife and I have been married for 40 years and she is preparing for surgery next week.